AUSTRALIA! Home to FAR too many sun-kissed, drop-dead gorgeous humans such as the Hemsworth brothers, Margot Robbie and Hugh Jackman (plus basically everybody else). Before any visit to Australia I highly recommend making sure that your self-esteem is at all time high, because wandering through crowds of people that look like they just stepped off the set of a Billabong commercial can be testing! Despite this, it is absolutely worth visiting. There are so many things to see in Australia and incredible Australian landmarks that it can be overwhelming trying to decide where to start. Hopefully I’ll be able to help you on that front.
Planning Your Trip to Australia
Dorothy made it to Oz in a flying house during a tornado, unfortunately for the rest of us it’s a bit more complicated than that. For me, from Ireland to Oz can be more than 24 hours of travel. So if you’re going to visit Australia you need to spend a decent amount of time there to recover from jetlag etc. The last thing you want is to be burnt out on your trip!
Really a minimum of two weeks is required to get your head around all the amazing things to do in Australia and to properly enjoy everything. You also need to decide whether you’re going to go the America way round or the Asia way round. I’ve done both and they both over great stop over options. On the America way round I recommend a stop in Hawaii or Fiji.
On the Asia way round the classic stopover is Singapore. The Asia route to Oz is usually the cheaper of the two. Before you leave you need to make sure that everyone has the required visas (unless you’re like me and have an NZ passport, mwahahahaha), in date passports and, of course, travel insurance; all the standard things you need when travelling to a new place.
You also need to make yourself an itinerary, even just a loose one if you prefer to travel spontaneously, and decide whether you want to travel alone or travel in a group. If you prefer group travel have a look G Adventures travel deals for small groups, I did one of their tours in Peru and it was an incredible experience. Bare in mind that Australia is a pricey destination to visit so you’ll need to make sure you’ve saved enough money for your visit.
It is also an absolutely HUGE country so to visit different locations you’ll likely need to factor in internal flights/train/long car journeys. All that being said, let’s take a look at some of the amazing sights to see in Australia so that you can add them to your itinerary.
**TOP TIP** – Sunscreen is so much cheaper in Australia than it is in Europe due to the fact that everyone needs it pretty much all of the time so I would wait till I get there to buy a huge bottle for next to nothing.
Must See Places in Australia
The Great Ocean Road, Victoria.
The Great Ocean Road is one of the biggest wonders of Oz. 150 miles (243km) of driving along the very edge of Australia, you’ll be greeted with breathtaking views of the oceans, culminating in The Twelve Apostles: tall pillars of limestone that have been eroded out in the ocean. Beauty doesn’t come much better than that!
When I was there I did a helicopter flight over the Twelve Apostles and it was such an incredible experience. Oh and my God if you’re a Point Break (the original) fan then make sure to stop at Bells Beach, which is where the final scene of the movie is set, even if it wasn’t actually filmed there. There’s some great outlets for surf apparel along the road too. I got my favourite pair of jellyfish sports leggings there!
Yellow Waters Lagoon, Northern Territory.
When you want to get to know the animals, an open-air zoo is the way to go. The reptiles and birds that usually stick around Kakadu National Park are loving life in the wetlands, and you get to see it with a simple cruise! You can check out those cruises here.
You can also drive yourself through the national park during the dry season, spotting termite mounds and kangaroos, just make sure you have a hardy 4X4 to deal with the terrain. Just make sure to buy a park pass before you enter.
Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney.
Not for the faint of heart or those who hate heights, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is a dazzling enough sight as it is and from the top it’s something truly spectacular. You will be 440 feet (134m) above sea level if you choose to do the Sydney bridge climb.
But you don’t have to climb it, there are stunning views of the bridge from various points around the harbour, especially when you can get the Sydney Opera House in the shot/view too. Sydney in general is a great city to explore for shopping, food, sights and more.
The Great Barrier Reef, Queensland.
You may have seen it on Finding Nemo, but there’s nothing quite like experiencing it for yourself. You can snorkel or scuba and get up close and personal with the world’s largets reef system. And really, there’s not much time left to do it. Sadly, more and more of the reef is suffering from sun-bleaching due to increased water temperature. But there’s still plenty to see. All sort of tropical fish, turtles, dolphins and more.
If you don’t want to snorkel or scuba you can take a trip on a glass-bottomed boat and observes the underwater world from a “safe” distance. When I visited we left from Cairns and also visited the stunning Whitsunday islands. I can’t recommend the islands enough, but I wasn’t 100% impressed with Cairns if I’m being honest, but it was a long time ago that I visited so maybe I wasn’t the right age for the place. Either way the Great Barrier Reef is one of the greatest things to see in Australia.
Uluru or Ayers Rock, Northern Territory.
This sacred rock is an impressive sight and iconic Australian landmark. I haven’t seen it firsthand but it has been on my bucket-list for a long time. It can be found in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park which is in Australia’s “Red Centre”. Hire a local aboriginal guide to take you on a guided walk and tell you all about the traditions and spiritual stories associated with Uluru.
A helicopter is also another great way to see Ayers Rock. Make sure to catch a sunset and sunrise, the rock changes colours from pink to red to orange etc. Just make sure not to CLIMB Uluru as it will not go down well at all.
Australia has some of the greatest sights to be seen in the world and there is something there for every age and every taste. You don’t have to spend your time taking in adventurous sights when there are vineyards and spa locations to be sought out if that’s what you prefer. However, as a small group looking for adventure, you need to have those locations listed on your must-see itinerary! Enjoy your adventure, sure, there’s no place like home but there’s so much to see and so many things to do in Australia!
Have you been to Australia?
What’s your favourite part?
Let me know in the comments.